pollution

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Water pollution doesn't just come from industrial pipes. It can also come from your prescription drugs or antibacterial soap. As part of our series on the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Cassandra Profita reports on the everyday pollutants that are emerging in waterways across the Northwest.You can find more about prescription drugs entering Northwest waters on our website nwpr.org and (hear how unregulated toxins may be affecting fish in the Northwest.

Photo by Dcoetzee / Wikimedia Commons

A new report released Thursday brings together the best data on the environmental health of Puget Sound. Ashley Ahearn reports.

University of Oregon researchers say they have found a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning plants by more than 90 percent. Their formula uses refrigeration to capture and control the dangerous chemicals pumped out of smoke stacks.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

Farming is the single biggest reason rivers are failing to meet standards set by the Clean Water Act. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz visited Idaho’s Pahsimeroi Valley for our series with Investigate West on this environmental law’s 40th anniversary. It turns out the problem isn’t so much what cattle ranchers and alfalfa growers are putting into the water – it’s what they’re taking out.

A Seattle-based seafood company has been fined 430,000 dollars for violations of the Clean Air Act. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

Icicle Seafoods harvests and sells salmon, crab Pollock and other fish from the waters of the Northwest and Alaska. And one of the key components of catching fish and bringing them to market – is refrigerant.

Willamette Pollution Riles Environmentalists

Aug 9, 2012
Photo by Vince Patton / Northwest News Network

The Willamette Riverkeeper is threatening to sue two pulp mills in the Willamette Valley for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. OPB’s Vince Patton was paddling with the Riverkeeper director when the water suddenly turned dark brown.

Photo by Joe Mabel / Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Seattle’s Duwamish River has been the industrial heart of the city for a century. It’s been straightened, filled and diked. During World War II thousands of airplanes were built there. Today cargo from around the world arrives in massive container ships, lining the mouth of the river. Industrial facilities dot its banks.

As part of EarthFix and Investigate West’s series on the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Ashley Ahearn takes a look at the Duwamish River now – and how its future recovery could play out.

Environmental regulators have detected high levels of fecal coliform in one of the Northwest's most important areas for growing food. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Duncan Lock / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal in a case that asks if the muddy water that flows from logging operations is industrial pollution.

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / Northwest News Network

Barker Creek cuts through the semi-rural landscape of hobby farms and small towns on Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula. And like many small waterways in this region, Barker Creek has had problems with fecal coliform. Rain washes the bacteria from animal manure and leaky septic systems into nearby waterways.

In some watersheds, the contamination can get so bad that officials have to close shellfish beds and post signs warning people to stay away from the water. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn reports on one success story.

EPA / Northwest News Network

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started the cleanup of a superfund site near Moses Lake in central Washington. As correspondent Anna King reports, this restoration has been in the works for decades.

The contaminated area is made up of an old Air Force airport, a county airport and some adjacent lands. Dumpsites there are loaded with chemicals like PCBs, lead and petroleum. The EPA has started testing and designing a treatment system to remove trichloroethylene from the groundwater at the superfund site.

A group of Lane County residents has formed an unusual partnership to test streams for chemicals. The residents are worried that herbicides sprayed onto clear-cut forests are drifting into nearby waters. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

A 140-foot fishing boat has been leaking oil from the bottom of Penn Cove off Whidbey Island for almost three weeks now. The ship caught fire and sank on May 13th. Local shellfish beds have been closed as agencies prepare to remove the ship. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Photo by Amelia Templeton / Northwest News Network

The Supreme Court is being advised not to take on a controversial logging pollution lawsuit that began in Oregon. Amelia Templeton explains.

Longview Considers Coal Exports At Former Aluminum Plant

May 24, 2012

Residents of Longview, Wash., want to see a new industry take over the old Reynolds aluminum smelter site south of town. But they disagree over whether a proposed coal export terminal will be a good fit. Cassandra Profita reports.

Researchers in the Northwest have found some pollution is making thunderstorms stronger and the atmosphere warmer. Correspondent Courtney Flatt explains.

Those giant, anvil-shaped thunderclouds you see looming in the distance may actually be getting bigger and stronger this summer, all because of aerosol pollutants.

CDC Cuts Lead Poisoning Threshold

May 17, 2012

Correspondent John Ryan of Seattle station KUOW has been investigating lead pollution in the Northwest. Lead has been known for centuries to be a powerful poison. Even small concentrations can lower children's IQs and cause permanent brain damage. As John reports, the federal government now says children's brains are even more sensitive to lead than previously thought.

Photo courtesy of USGS

Giant smoke stacks and industrial dump sites are no longer the only water quality problem on the Columbia River. a recent study has found that our day to day life has a major impact as well.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at nine cities along the river, from Wenatchee to Longview, Wash. They detected hundreds of contaminants flowing from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff.

Hydrologist Jennifer Morace says the toxic contaminants included things like shampoo and pharmaceuticals.

Two-Headed Trout Spur Scrutiny Of Mine Pollution

Apr 19, 2012
Photos courtesy J.R. Simplot / Idaho DEQ

Here’s an image you usually don’t see without the help of Photoshop: two-headed fish. Pictures of deformed baby trout with two heads show up in a study of creeks in a remote part of southeast Idaho. The study examined the effects of a contaminant called selenium. It comes from a nearby mine owned by the agribusiness giant, J.R. Simplot. Critics say the two-headed trout have implications beyond a couple of Idaho creeks. Jessica Robinson reports.

Photo by Brian Robert Marshall / Northwest News Network

OUTLOOK, Wash. – A recent study is raising questions about the air quality in the Yakima Valley. The area has a high concentration of large-scale dairies. As Courtney Flatt reports, residents living near the dairies have noticed respiratory problems as more dairies moved in.

Photo by John Ryan / KUOW

SEATTLE -- Small airplanes are the leading source of lead pollution in the nation’s air. Activists are suing the EPA to get the lead out of aviation fuel. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

Photo Credit: John Ryan / Nothwest Public Radio

BOEING FIELD, Wash. -- Lead paint was banned in the United States in the 1970s. Leaded gasoline was slowly phased out over the next 20 years. Those efforts drove one of the great public-health improvements of the past century. The amount of lead found in human bloodstreams has dropped by more than 90 percent.

Air pollution from oceangoing ships will be dramatically reduced under new rules agreed to by shipping companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and international regulators. The pollution rules affect container ships, cruise lines and oil tankers calling on West Coast ports.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The water system is sick in a huge swath of Eastern Washington -- from Union Gap near Yakima to Benton City near the Tri-Cities. State and federal officials announced Thursday that much of the ground water in the lower valley is dangerous to drink. Correspondent Anna King reports. 

The Yakima Valley is like a multi layered cake punched with a network of drinking straws. There are irrigation drainage pipes, farm canals, deep wells, really old shallow wells, aquifers and rivers all coming. Somehow lots of nitrates and bacteria are getting into the ground water.

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